Copywriting, ah! These are the sweetest words any marketer wants to hear. Why? Because it translates to more money in the bank and more customers through your door. So how do you get started with copywriting?
Here are 34 tips to get you going:
#1. Write copy that speaks to your target audience and addresses their specific needs.
Imagine yourself as a keynote speaker.
You’ve been asked to deliver a speech, but you haven’t been told who your audience is. You have no idea what their needs are, what they’re interested in, or what might resonate with them.
This would be a nightmare! And yet, many businesses write copy without first taking their time to understand their target audiences. As a result, their message gets lost or fails to connect.
When you’re writing copy, always keep your target audience in mind. You want to imagine you’re directly speaking to them, addressing their specific needs. Only then will your message have the intended impact.
#2. Identify Your Copy’s Objective and Keep It Focused
What’s the main purpose of your copy? Are you selling a product, promoting a service, or raising awareness for a cause?
No matter your objective, it’s important to keep your copy focused. That means including only the information that’s relevant to achieving your goal. Every sentence should contribute to moving the reader closer to taking the desired action.
If you find yourself including irrelevant information or straying off-topic, it’s time to edit. Remember, less is almost always more when it comes to copywriting.
#3. You have to Make Sure Every Line Count
Simple, each line you write must entice the reader to want to read the next line.
You do this by avoiding filler words, using strong verbs, and making sure each sentence serves a predefined purpose.
Remember, copywriting isn’t the same as writing a blog post. You have to think through every word, line, and paragraph to ensure it’s working hard to move your narrative forward.
#4. Your customers’ Needs and Desires are the Only Things that Matter
Your customers should be at the centre of everything you write. Every line, sentence, or paragraph should be goaded with the question, “How does this help my customer?” If you can’t answer that question, then it doesn’t belong in your copy. Think about what the customer cares about the most, and make sure your words reflect that.
It’s not about what you care about or what you want to say. It’s about what the customer wants and needs to hear.
- In most cases, the customer doesn’t care about the lifestyle your company can afford. They want to know how your product or service will improve their lives.
- They also don’t care about the unique techniques you’ve adopted or how long you’ve been in business. They want to know how you can solve their problem.
- If you keep your customer’s needs at the forefront of your mind, you’ll be well on your way to writing copy that sells.
In other words, your customers only care about their immediate needs and desires. They don’t care about your company’s history or how your product is made. All they want to know is how you can make their life better.
#5. Assuming You’re Speaking to a Friend in Need
When writing copy, always assume you’re speaking to a friend in need. That means using a personal, conversational tone throughout your writing. It also means avoiding industry jargon, buzzwords, and technical terms. Unless you’re confident your audience will understand them, it’s best to steer clear.
Use a casual, more straightforward tone to ensure your message is coming across loud and clear. It’s not about trying to sound smart or using big words to impress your reader. It’s about communicating your message in the most effective way possible. After you’re done, you want to read it over to make sure it sounds like something you would say to a friend. Or better, have someone else read it to you loud to see if it sounds natural.
#6. Use Power Words to Pack a Punch
Words carry weight, so it’s important to choose them carefully. When looking for just the right word, turn to a list of power words. These are words that evoke an emotional response or convey a strong meaning. They can be used to grab attention, create clarity, or simply make your writing more interesting.
Some examples of power words include:
Use these words sparingly, as too many of them can make your writing seem insincere. But a well-placed power word can make all the difference between flat, boring copy and writing that packs a punch.
#7. Write Like You Talk
When speaking to someone, you naturally use gestures, expressions, and inflexion to convey meaning. Your written words should do the same. One way to make your writing more conversational is to use contractions. These are shortened versions of words, like “don’t” instead of “do not.”
Another way to add personality to your writing is to use sentence fragments. These are incomplete sentences that are often used for emphasis. For example, “This product is life-changing.” You can also use first-person pronouns, like “I” or “we,” to make your writing sound more like a conversation.
#8. The Single Most Important Element of Good Copywriting is Clarity
If your writing is unclear, it doesn’t matter how well-written or persuasive it is. No one will understand what you’re trying to say.
By clarity, we mean two things:
The first can be achieved by using short, simple words and sentences.
The second can be achieved by ensuring your writing remains focused on a single message. If you’re unsure whether your writing is clear, ask someone else to read it. If they can’t understand it, neither will your readers.
#9. Good Copywriting is all about Benefits, not Features
When promoting a product or service, it’s always tempting to list all the features in the hopes that your readers will see their value. But that’s not how it works. Your readers don’t care about what features your product has. They only care about how those features will benefit them.
For example, let’s say you’re selling a new type of vacuum cleaner. A feature of the vacuum might be that it has a detachable hose. But the benefit of that feature is that it’s easier to clean hard-to-reach places. When writing copy, always focus on the benefits of promoting the product or service.
#10. Include the What, Why, Where, Who and How
When writing a copy, it’s important to include all the relevant information.
This includes the what, why, where, who and how.
- The “What” is the product or service you’re promoting.
- The “Why” is the reason your reader should care about it.
- The “Where” is the place they can buy it.
- The “Who” is the target customer.
- And the “How” is the way it will benefit them.
By including all of this information, you’ll be giving your readers everything they need to make an informed decision.
#11. Include “Proof” Elements to Boost Your Credibility
If you want your readers to believe what you’re saying, you need to back it up with proof.
There are several ways to do this:
- Customer testimonials
- Case studies
- Social proof
- Data and statistics
Even better, incorporate proof directly into your writing. For example, if you’re making a claim, back it up with data.
Here’s an example:
“Our vacuum cleaner is the best on the market.”
This claim is much more believable with some data to back it up:
“Our vacuum cleaner has been rated the best by Consumer Reports for three years.”
If you’re saying your product is the best, include customer testimonials. The more proof you have, the more credible your writing will be. Here’s a real-time example from AppSumo:
“Honestly, this is the best $49 I’ve ever spent. I use it every single day and have already recommended it to several people.”
– David Arnett, AppSumo user
#12. Speak to the Emotions and Motivation Behind the Customers’ Decision
When people make a purchase, they’re not just thinking about the product or service itself. They’re also thinking about how it will make them feel. For example, if someone is buying a new car, they might be thinking about how happy they’ll be when they’re on the road driving it. Or, if someone is buying a new house, they might be thinking about how proud they’ll be to own their own home. As a copywriter, it’s your job to speak to these emotions and motivations.
#13. Use the Ellipsis Where Possible
The ellipsis is often used to create a sense of suspense or anticipation. For example, “I was about to go to bed when I heard a noise outside…” Or “I was just about to leave the house when I got a call from my boss…” The ellipsis can be a great way to keep your readers engaged when used correctly. An ellipsis equals unfinished thought, so it can also create a sense of mystery. For example, “I’m not sure what happened next…”
#14. If there’s a Shorter Way to Say it, Use it
When writing copy, always look for ways to say things more concisely. For example, instead of saying, “He was very happy about it,” you could say, “He was thrilled.” Or instead of saying “I was really disappointed,” you could say “I was upset.” The goal is to get your point across with as few words as possible. Remember, you have limited space and time to get your message across, so make every word count.
#15. Start with a Bang
The first sentence of your copy is crucial. It’s the make-or-break point where you’ll either hook your reader or lose their attention. That’s why it’s important to start with a bang.
There are several ways to do this:
- Use a surprising statistic
- Ask a rhetorical question
- Share an intriguing story
- Make a bold claim
- Use powerful language
Just make sure whatever you’re doing grabs your reader’s attention and makes them want to read more.
#16. If You Can’t Condense, find a Way to Simplify It
If you find that your copy is getting too long, see if there’s a way to simplify it. For example, if you’re listing several points, see if you can combine them. Or, if you’re using long sentences, see if you can break them up into shorter ones. The goal is to make your copy easy to read and understand. Don’t be afraid to edit and revise your copy until it’s perfect.
Persuasive Copywriting Tips
We’ve covered the basics of what good copywriting entails. Now, let’s look at some tips that will help you write persuasive copy.
#17. Write to influence, not just inform
Copywriting isn’t the same as content marketing. While both involve writing, the goal of copywriting is to influence the reader to take action, not just provide information. To write persuasive copy, you need to understand what motivates your reader and appeal to those desires.
For example, if you’re selling a weight loss program, you want to appeal to the reader’s desire to be thinner and healthier. Or, if you’re selling a new car, you want to appeal to the reader’s desire for status and luxury. The key is to tap into your reader’s emotions and motivate them to take action.
#18. Establish Your Authority, Investment, and Credibility
When you’re trying to persuade someone to do something, it helps to have some credibility. Otherwise, why should they listen to you? People want to buy from brands they can find reliable and consistent.
To build your authority, you can:
- Use testimonials from past clients
- Share your company’s history and experience
- List awards and accolades your company has received
- Talk about any media coverage you’ve gotten
Investment is also important.
The more invested someone is in something, the less likely they will give up on it.
To get your readers invested, you can:
- Make them feel like they’re part of a community
- Ask them to participate in surveys or polls
- Get them to sign up for your newsletter
Talk about your mission. Talk about your passion and why you do what you do to establish credibility, you need to be authentic and transparent. People can spot a fake from a mile away, so don’t try to deceive them. Instead, focus on being genuine and honest.
Here are a few ways to do that:
- Use first-person pronouns like “I” and “we.”
- Tell your story
- Be specific about your results
- Use case studies and testimonials
- Cite reliability metrics
- Highlight your team’s credentials
#19. Tell a Story
People love stories. We’re hardwired to remember and respond to them. When you tell a story, it helps your reader connect with you deeper. It also makes your message more memorable. Stories are also persuasive and easy to understand. That’s why they’re such a powerful tool for copywriters.
To tell a story, you need to:
- Find an interesting character
- Place them in a relatable but somewhat challenging situation
- Create conflict and tension
- Resolve the conflict
- Make sure your story is relevant to your message and goals.
- It should also be entertaining and engaging.
Come to think of it: would you spend $50 on a shirt? No.But what if I wrote a story detailing the intent, manufacturing process, and how the shirt will make you feel? You’d probably think differently, right? It’s all about perspective.
By telling a story, you’ll be giving your reader a new perspective on your product or service. And that can be very persuasive.
#20. Get Readers to Nod Along
Getting the reader to nod along is an old sales technique inspired by the Socratic method. The idea is simple: if you can get the reader to agree with your statements, they’ll be more likely to agree with your conclusion. To do this, you need to make statements that your reader will naturally agree with.
For example, let’s say you’re trying to sell a new car. You might say something like, “Nobody likes being stuck in traffic.” Almost everyone can agree with that statement. Once you’ve gotten the reader to agree with you, you can then introduce your product as the solution to the problem.
In our example, you might say, “With this new car, you’ll never have to worry about being stuck in traffic again.” See how that works? By getting the reader to agree with you, you’ve made it more likely that they’ll also agree with your conclusion.
#21. Use Curiosity Gap
The curiosity gap is a psychological principle that says people are motivated to seek out information when there’s a gap in their knowledge. In other words, we’re curious about things we don’t know. As a copywriter, you can use this principle to your advantage.
You can create curiosity by starting with a statement that piques the reader’s interest and then withholding information. For example, let’s say you’re writing an ad for a new car. You might start with a statement like, “This new car can go from 0 to 60 in just 3 seconds.”
That creates curiosity. But it’s not enough to get the reader to act. To close the gap, you need to give them more information. You might say, “The new Tesla Model S can go from 0 to 60 in just 3 seconds. And it’s the fastest car in its class.” Now you’ve given them enough information to satisfy their curiosity. But you’ve also left them wanting more.
That’s the key to using the curiosity gap effectively. You want to give the reader just enough information to get them interested, but not so much that they’re satisfied.
#22. Use Negative Words Sparingly
Negative words have a way of turning people off. That explains why you’re to use them sparingly in your copy. For example, let’s say you’re trying to sell a new car. You might be tempted to use a negative word like “ugly” to describe the competition. But that would be a huge mistake. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of your product.
You might say something like, “Our car is the most stylish and luxurious in its class.” That’s much more effective than using a negative word. The same goes for other words like “hate,” “dread,” and “never.” Use them sparingly, if at all. Negative words have a way of turning people off. So, it’s best to use them sparingly in your copy.
#23. Repeat the Key Points
“Repetition” is a powerful marketing tool. It’s a psychological phenomenon known as the “mere-exposure effect.” It says that we’re more likely to like something if we’ve been exposed to it multiple times. As a copywriter, you can use this principle to your advantage. You can repeat the key points throughout your copy to increase the likelihood that people will remember them. Or you might start and end your copy with the same key points. Either way, repetition will help people remember your message.
#24. Use Favourable Metaphors and Comparisons
As studies have shown, people learn best through comparison and analogy. The human brain does an excellent job at making connections between familiar things. So, when you use metaphors and comparisons, you’re essentially giving your reader a mental shortcut. You’re helping them understand your message more quickly and easily. For example, when selling a new car, you might compare it to a luxurious sports car. You might say something like, “This car is the Rolls-Royce of SUVs.”
AppSumo is another excellent example of this principle in action. They’re constantly using favourable metaphors and comparisons to sell their products. For example, in this email, they’re connecting their email to the concept of a boss.“Book Like a Boss’’In the first paragraph, they try to connect the “like a boss” concept to pop culture by referencing SNL group Lonely Island’s song, “Like a Boss.”
In the second paragraph, they use the phrase “time is money” to compare their product and the value it provides. And in the last paragraph, they introduce a simile, “like an overworked secretary,” to describe how their product can help you automate your work. All these comparisons and metaphors make it easier for the reader to understand and remember the message.
#25. Agitate the Problem Before Introducing a Solution
The best way to sell a product is by first agitating the problem. In other words, you want to make the reader aware of the problem that your product solves. Only then should you introduce the solution (i.e., your product). This is an effective sales technique because it helps the reader understand the need for your product.
It also helps them see your product in a positive light. For example, if you’re selling copywriting services, you might agitate the problem by saying something like, “Are you sick of watching your hard-earned money go down the drain?” Only then can you introduce your solution: “Our copywriting services are guaranteed to increase your conversion rate and save you money.”
Agitating on the problem first helps create a need for your product. And when there’s a need, people are more likely to buy.
#26. Create Clear, Vivid Expectations
People have a natural desire to know what to expect. It’s human nature. We want to know what we’re getting ourselves into before taking the plunge. As a copywriter, it’s your job to create clear and vivid expectations for your reader.
You want to give them a good idea of what they can expect if they decide to buy your product. For example, let’s say you’re selling a weight loss program. Your job is to create expectations for the reader. You might say something like, “Expect to lose 20 pounds in the first month.”
Or you might say, “expect to feel more energetic and healthier.” Creating clear expectations helps the reader understand what they’re getting themselves into. And when people know what to expect, they’re more likely to take action.
#27. Anticipate and Address Objections, Sticking Points, and Concerns
People will always have objections, sticking points, and concerns. It’s simple, in interpersonal sales, whoever broaches the objection first, usually controls the conversation. As a copywriter, it’s your job to anticipate these objections and address them head-on. For example, let’s say you’re selling a weight loss program.
One of the objections you might anticipate is, “I don’t have time to work out.” Your job is to address this objection directly.For instance, you might write, “This program only requires 30 minutes of exercise per day.” Or you might say, “You can do this program at home with no equipment needed.”
- Copywriting Tips for the Headline
The headline is the most critical part of your copy. Period. Why? Because the headline is what decides whether or not people will keep reading your sales copy.
Think about it — when skimming through a website or flipping through a magazine, what do you look at first? The headline. The headline is what grabs your attention and makes you want to keep reading. As a copywriter, it’s your job to make sure your headline does its job.
Here are a few copywriting tips to help you write headlines that sell:
#28. Write a Compelling Headline
If you don’t have a compelling headline, you’re not going to sell. It’s that simple. Your headline needs to be attention-grabbing and make people want to keep reading. Readers have to find it interesting enough to want to learn more.
For example, let’s say you’re selling a weight loss program. Your headline might be something like, “Lose 20 Pounds in 30 Days.” This headline is compelling because it’s specific and makes a bold promise. Another example might be “The 5 Worst Foods to Eat if You Want to Lose Weight.”
This headline is attention-grabbing because it’s controversial. It also promises to provide valuable information. Your headline needs to be compelling if you want people to keep reading.
#29. Focus on Getting Your Readers to Keep on Reading
Focus on getting your readers to keep on reading. In other words, it should be a “teaser” that piques their interest and makes them want to find out more.
There are a few things you could do to get people to continue reading:
- Make a clear promise in the headline, and then deliver on that promise in the body of your copy.
- Create a curiosity gap by saying something like, “The 5 Worst Foods to Eat if You Want to Lose Weight.”
- Use specific numbers and statistics in your headline to make a bold claim, e.g., “Lose 20 Pounds in 30 Days.”
- Reference a topic you know your target audience is interested in, e.g., “How to Lose Weight Without Giving Up Your Favourite Foods.”
- Reference a brand or person your target audience might be interested in, e.g., “A Weight Loss Plan that Even Jennifer Aniston Follows.”
The bottom line is this: your headline should be focused on getting people to keep reading. If it doesn’t, you’ve halfway lost them before they’ve even started reading your copy.
#30. Match the Headline to the Copy Body
Never mislead your readers by packaging your copy a certain way and then delivering something different. Otherwise referred to as click baits, these headlines are designed to get people to click on them without actually delivering on the promise. For example, you might see a headline that says, “You Won’t Believe What This Celebrity Did!” But when you click on it, it’s just a regular news story about something the celebrity did.
Or you might see a headline that says, “This Simple Trick Will Help You Lose 10 Pounds in 2 Weeks!” But when you click on it, it’s just an ad for a weight loss program. Don’t be one of these types of websites. Your headline should match the body of your copy.
If you make a promise in the headline, deliver on that promise in the copy. Don’t try to trick people into reading your copy using misleading headlines. It’s dishonest and might also backfire on you and damage your credibility.
#31. Make a Claim that’s Bold but True
Have something that the reader can look forward to in your headline. Make a claim that’s bold but true. For example, “Jumpstart Your Weight Loss with These 5 Tips.” This headline makes a bold claim that you can help the reader lose weight. But it’s also true because you will provide five tips that will help them jumpstart their weight loss.
If you’ve been keen, you must have noticed that this is our go-to technique for blog posts here at MediaOne. If we can make a bold claim in the headline, we’ll do it:
- 8 Great Internet Marketing Strategies
- The 12 Best Writer Websites to Learn from in 2022
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- Best in Class Digital Marketing Agency: MediaOne
- How To Write A Headline (Steal These 22 plugs and Play Formulas)
- The 10 Most Lucrative Career Pivot Opportunities for Beginner Freelance Writers,
While some of these headlines are better than others, they all make a bold claim. And that’s what you want to do in your headline. Make a bold claim that’s also true.
#32. Create a Curiosity Gap
A curiosity gap is when you say something in the headline that piques people’s curiosity and makes them want to learn more. For example, “The Only Thing Standing Between You and Your Dream Body is this One Simple Trick!” Tell me you wouldn’t click on this headline to find out what that one simple trick is. I know I would.
And that’s the whole point of a curiosity gap. It’s designed to make people curious, so they’ll click on your headline to find out more. However, you want to be careful with this approach because it can backfire. If you make a claim that’s too outrageous, people will see right through it, and they won’t click on your headline.
Or worse, they’ll click on it and then be disappointed because your headline didn’t deliver on its promise. So, make sure that your curiosity gap is effective but not too out there.
#33. Use Negative Superlatives
Negative superlatives are when you use words like “worst” or “never” in your headline. For example, “The Worst Copywriting Mistakes You’re Making Right Now.” Negative superlatives are effective because they tap into people’s fears. People are afraid of making mistakes.
And when you use a negative superlative in your headline, it speaks to that fear and makes people want to find out what they’re doing wrong.For example, “The Worst Copywriting Mistakes You’re Making Right Now.” This headline speaks to the fear of making copywriting mistakes. And it’s effective because it makes people want to find out what those mistakes are so they can avoid them.
#34. Ask a Question
Asking a question in your headline is a great way to engage your readers and get them to click on your headline. For example, “How Much Weight Can You Lose in a Month?” Or, “How Can you Best Budget Your Money?” Questions are effective because they’re interactive.
They engage the reader and make them want to find out more. In addition, questions can also be used to create a curiosity gap. For example, “Can You Guess Which of These 2 Diet Plans is More Effective?” This headline makes people curious because they want to know which diet plan is more effective.